Back in October, I sat down with my journal, inspired by a book I had just read. The writer encouraged me to make a list of my dreams for the next ten years. Please note, I said dreams, not goals. Dreaming, involves thinking big! Without being concerned about time, money or education, what are your dreams? One of mine was to sponsor two children through Compassion International. As a stay at home mom, this was a big dream. I have been wanting to (and felt called to) do this for so long, but my lack of faith in God's provision, and selfishness, kept me from making the commitment. As I sat there looking at my list, I re-read each of the dreams, the Holy Spirit began nudging me. "Trust in the Lord." "Have faith."
About six months ago, I started watching my niece a couple of days each week. The extra money was nice, I was saving and tithing and then spending the rest on myself. I felt like God was encouraging me to give more and I quickly agreed. I felt that helping two other children would be a better use of my money than buying another pair of unnecessary shoes for myself.
I am not sharing this story because I want everyone to know what I am doing, I am sharing this story because of the blessings we have received since sponsoring Swando and Sheva. I encouraged my kids to get involved from the beginning. My little man, picked a boy only three days younger than himself. My daughter picked a little girl who shares the same birth-month. Both children happen to be from Indonesia. We read about each child and spent time choosing the child that seemed to "feel right" for my kids. We talked about the homes and environments the children live in. We talked about their families and the jobs that the children are expected to perform. I explained to my kids that I would sponsor the children monetarily, but it would be their responsibility to correspond and pray for their child. The praying started that evening. My son prayed for food and fresh drinking water, my daughter prayed for safety and that her child would be able to attend school (she wasn't).
About two weeks after sponsoring the children, my son received a packet that included a picture, and information about his child. My daughter did not receive hers. After waiting patiently, I eventually called and discovered there had been a mix-up with my daughters child, they assured me that the packet would be sent immediately. We waited another two weeks for the packet. During that time, my son received his first letter from Sheva. The letter gave us all of his personal information, such as who lives in his home, his favorite food, his favorite Bible story (David & Goliath, the same as my son) and also specific prayer requests. We were thrilled to know more about him and to have a personal connection.
Last week as we were getting ready for the holiday, I asked my children to clean their rooms. The whining, tears and drama started immediately. I sent both of them to their rooms, so that I could compose myself rather than lose my "cool". After a short time-out for me, and them, I called them to the couch for a little discussion. "What do you think Swando and Sheva are doing today"? They looked at me blankly. I continued, "well, I know what they are not doing.""They are not cleaning their rooms." The families in the underprivileged parts of Indonesia often live in cardboard houses with tin roofs. My children knew this. We continued our discussion about the kinds of toys that Swando and Sheva have and the jobs they are expected to complete, not for payment, but for their families' well being. I wanted them to realize that we are blessed to be living where we do and that it is not a punishment to clean their rooms, it is a privilege. The kids went to clean.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. -Luke 12:48b
I am thankful that God has given me the responsibility of raising and teaching my children. I am thankful that God gave us the resources to sponsor Swando and Sheva and for opening our eyes to people other than ourselves.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. - James 1:27 (NLT) (emphasis mine)
I refuse to believe that sponsoring these children won't make a difference. My kids and I are proof that it does.
"The religious leaders hated Jesus because he broke the rules in order to help people and refused to condemn anyone for anything other than being unloving." - Alice Smith
On Christmas Eve I went out to get the mail before leaving for church. As I came into the house, I handed my daughter an envelope. "Merry Christmas," I said. "Is it from Swando," she asked excitedly. It was her first letter, an introduction, including her favorite foods, her parents names and favorite Bible story (also David and Goliath). On the back, was a special note and prayer requests. "Please pray for my upcoming exam, that I will do well." "She's in school?" My daughter could not contain her excitement or tears of joy for someone other than herself.
Thank you Lord for blessing us. Thank you for your provision and grace. Thank you for opening our eyes to your world. Please continue to teach me and our family how to give and love. Help us to see the world as you see it. Help us to love everyone as you love them. Help us to give with a cheerful heart, out of the abundance that you have already given us. In the precious name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.